President Muhammadu Buhari has broken his silence on Tuesday’s shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza by Nigerian security agents.
In a statement released by the Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said he had avoided the issue “until the facts are established.”
The statement read:
“As the Judicial panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State Government, one of the more dozen states to do so, starts sitting on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his full support and optimism that it will assist the nation to give justice to peaceful protesters who lost their lives, security men who were murdered and property owners whose assets were vandalized and looted.”
According to Garba Shehu, “The President, who said he had all along avoided going into a debate about the Lekki Toll Gate incidents until all the facts are established, appealed to the people all over the country to maintain peace and brotherhood as the machinery of the government and the wheel of justice turn against the perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property.”
He continued, “The President advises that peace, brotherhood, and inter communal harmony are central to our ethos and urges Nigerians “not to turn against one another in hate.”
The statement said the President Buhari considered it important that the police and other security agencies move everywhere to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.
President Buhari said that while his administration is working hard through many pragmatic ways to reduce the hardship of the millions of our unemployed, poor citizens and those whose lives have been thrown into disarray by the harsh economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has warned that resort to widespread attacks and the organized looting and plundering of public and private property in many states are inimical to public good and stand condemned.
“Looting and vandalism will hurt trade and investment growth in our country, both large and small industries, as well as our hardworking people in the informal sectors of the economy.” The statement said.
“These incidents do not reflect well on any society. They are wrong and condemnable and should not be supported by reasonable members of the society.”
President Buhari then commended the decision of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice to prosecute 229 suspects arrested by the police for allegedly using the #EndSARS protest to destroy and loot public and private property.
The statement went further to say that as the President had mentioned in two previous statements on the issues, he had noted the grievances of the people, saying, “We have heard you loud and clear.” And was clearly determined to take all necessary measures to address the complaints.
“Nevertheless, the violence must stop.” The statement asserted.
President Buhari also condemned hate messages and eviction notices to ethnic and religious groups asking Nigerians to take pride in the fact that our diverse people have been living with one another in harmony for ages.
“The right of all citizens to live and work in any part of the country is a constitutional right and will be defended by the government.” The statement concluded